Antonio Balbi won the 450 Pro class with a 1-1.
With the foreign motocross invasion continuing throughout the winter at the weekly REM motocross races?the Pro fields were packed to the gills with Swedes, Latvians, Brazilians, Brits, Italians and Danes seeking the warm sunny weather in SoCal. Foreign riders come to Southern California for the vast number of motocross tracks, perfect weather and tough competition. It is a chance for a European rider to test himself against American racers?without have to face Villopoto, Dungey, Stewart or Millsaps.
Justin Jones fought hard from the back to get second in the 450 Pros with a 3-3 on a KTM 450XC.
450 Pro class: Antonio Balbi had a tough race with local hero Colton Aeck, but a collision in the second moto sent Aeck to the back and his 2-11 was no match for the Brazilian’s 1-1. Justin Jones (3-3) is an extremely talented rider. He is the son of four-time National Champion Gary Jones and in the last three weeks has raced two motocross races, a six-hour endurance race and a WORCS race. Bad starts hampered his day, but he ended up second overall.
Dennis Stapleton, home from Kuwait and Qatar, got fourth overall and is prepping for the World Two-Stroke Championships on April before heading for Denmark.
Latvian Davis Ivanovs, MXA’s Dennis Stapleton and Swede Tom Johnsson battled for third through fifth. Kyle Wolack was sixth, Davis Lius seventh, Colton Aeck eighth, Tobias Kempe ninth and Chris Petersen tenth. Mariana Balbi raced the 450 Pro class also and ended up 11th.
250 Pro class: The 250 Pro class was won by Broc Shoemaker, son of AMA National rider Mike Shoemaker, with Latvian Karlis Sabulis second, Lithuanian Matas Inda third, Latvian Gint Filipsons fourth and Dane Mathias Keller fifth.
Matas Inda checks his six. His 1-3 was good enough for third in the 250 Pro class behind Broc Shoemaker and Karlis Sabulis.
250 Intermediates: Swede Kristoffer Palm swept the 250 Intermediates in front of Kyle Fry, Nathan Cernicky, Dylan Anderson, Kirk Raleigh, Frans Andersson, Cody Brownfield, Kurt Doyle and Cody Johnston.
Davis Ivanovs got third in the 450 Pro class with an 8-2. Half of the 450 Pro class were KX450F-mounted and the top five in the 250 Pro class were on KX250Fs.
250 Beginners: This was a big class with lots of dicing back and forth. Zach Siedschalg took the victory with a 2-1 after first moto winner Thomas Wilcox could only string a 1-10 together (which made him fifth overall). Second place went to Michael Troxel (5-3), third to Matt Maroney (4-4) and fourth to Cruze Candelaria (7-2).
Mariana Balbi raced with the men in the 450 Pro class and just missed the top ten overall with a 12-10.
Over-50 Expert class: We can’t imagine many motocross races across the country where so much emphasis would be placed on riders over the age of 50, but, for some reason, at REM the Over-50 Expert class is almost as prestigious as the Pro classes. The battles are always intense and this week was no different as Central California star Gary Bowman (1-1) defeated a top ten of Husqvarna’s Andy Jefferson (2-2), TLD’s Troy Lee (4-3), Jon Ortner (3-4), Baja racer Andy Kirker (5-5), LightSpeed’s Willie Amaradio (7-6), Dave Eropkin (6-7), Hollywood stuntman Bryan Friday (9-8), Mike Monaghan (8-9) and Too Tech’s Rick Johnson (8-9).
Troy Lee (25) takes the inside line, while Andy Kirker swings wide. Troy ended third in the Over-50 Experts behind Gary Bowman and Andy Jefferson. Kirker was fifth.
Over-50 Intermediates: Equally intense, largely because it is packed with Over-50 Experts who moved down to avoid the heat in the faster class, is the Over-50 Intermediate class. This week Steve Donovan took the victory with Randy Skinner (2-2), Jeff Mason (5-4), Mike Phillips (6-4), Jeff Fahy (3-10), Todd Wiseman (8-6), Lyle Sweeter (11-5), Mark Hall (7-9), Mike Hillion (10-7) and Ken Ehlers (9-8) rounding out the top ten.
Vito Bednar’s 3-7 gave him sixth overall in the 250 Novices.
Over-50 Novices: This is where future Over-50 Intermediates are born. Terry Varner won his fifth Over-50 Novice race out of 7 starts since the first of the year. Ray Glover was second, Paul Crouch third, Brian Underdahl fourth, Gary Scott fifth, Mitch Evans sixth, Bill Melanson seventh, Dennis Smith eighth, Jeff Greene ninth and Chuck Freeman tenth.
Cody Brownfield went 6-7 for seventh in the 250 Intermediate class.
WHAT ABOUT THE FOUR-OHS?
Over-40 Novice: Mike Little, Cory Clark, Nick Nahas, Frank Beach and Brooklyn McClendon were the top five.
We don’t think that this is how you do it, but Jeff Fahy made it work on his way to fifth in the Over-50 Intermediate class with a 3-10.
Over-40 Intermediate: Scott Lindley won both motos with Rick Johnson (3-3), Ron Shuler (2-4), Dan Alamangos (6-3) and Joe Pena (5-5) rounding out the top five.
Jon Rice, grandson of the great 1960’s star John “John R” Rice, broke out his grandpa’s signature striped jersey. Jon was fourth in the 250 Novices. Tristan Morts (314) was fifth.
Over-40 Experts/Over-40 Pro: William Hendershot, Austin Squires and Randel Fout went 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 in the Pro class, while Greg Pierce won the Experts.
Kyle Fry (271) got second in the 250 Intermediates, while Dylan Anderson (195) was fourth and Kirk Raleigh (143) fifth.
REM races again next Saturday for the start of the Spring Series. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos